Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Gaza: When There's No Beef Stroganoff--THAT'S Poverty!

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 11:45 AM PDT

True, there are real shortages in Gaza as a result of the border closure and the Israeli blockade--shortages that are the direct result of the Hamas terrorists who control Gaza and continue to fire rockets into civilian areas in Israel. But sometimes, these claims of poverty become absurd. From Der Spiegel (part 2; part 1 here):

Samir Badr, 53, the head chef at Roots, isn't sure what to make of the Israeli recommendation. He is standing at the gas range in his kitchen, roasting eggplants. "If the Israelis knew how hard it is to get all the ingredients for beef stroganoff!" It starts with the meat, he says. The cattle come from Israel, but there is often no meat to be had, or cream, for that matter. It wouldn't survive the trip through the tunnels. Vegetables come from Gaza, but they are often contaminated, because of inadequate sewage treatment resulting from a lack of electricity. Besides, there are problems with cooking equipment, and plates, glasses and cutlery are in short supply.
Ah yes, the Stroganoff. One can only hope that the customers at Roots won't suffer too much--

"The Israelis point to the few good things in Gaza, but they don't talk about the majority of people, who are not doing well," Basil Nasser, 44, one of the owners of Roots, says furiously. "Sure, there's enough to eat in Gaza, but poverty is more than that. Poverty is when the 15,000 people who graduate from the university each year have to beg for jobs as waiters, when an extended family lives in a single room and when the hospital lacks critical drugs. That's poverty."
Someone should point out to the owner of Roots that the point of the aid that Israel provides on a daily basis is not to provide luxuries to Gaza. Better to hope for the day that Hamas stops the rockets and releases Gilad Shalit--who is held incommunicado, contrary to international law. 

Lee Smith, author of The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations, has responded to Nasser's complaint:

There is not an Arab state where this is not true of college graduates - especially now after the financial crisis has affected the Gulf states and made it harder for Lebanese, Egyptians, Syrians, Moroccans etc to find work in the Gulf.

However, this ignorance of what the Arab world looks like is a consistent problem you see in the Western press where reporters on Israeli-Palestinian issues generally have very little experience of the region outside of Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. So instead of comparing Gaza to a Cairo slum like Imbaba, or Ramallah to an Arab capital like Damascus, they are compared to Tel Aviv, West Jerusalem and Western cities.

Based on his assessment, we are being misled by the media--a serious problem that will continue for the foreseeable future. 

Gazans don't need camouflage

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 04:25 AM PDT

The Washington Post offers Israel some free advice on Managing the Gaza Blockade.

ISRAEL'S BLOCKADE of Gaza is crumbling. In the wake of last week's clash between Israelis commandos and militants on a relief flotilla, the world at large has condemned it; the Obama administration has called it "unsustainable." Egypt reopened its crossing into Gaza for humanitarian aid and some travel. But the solution is not as simple as simply ending the checks on sea and land traffic by Israel. What's needed is a new regime that addresses the legitimate needs of Palestinians in Gaza without further empowering Hamas and its patron, Iran.

Barry Rubin has argued:

Actually, if the West doesn't panic and the mass media isn't allowed to set policy, the current strategy is very easily sustainable.

Of course what the legitimate needs of the Palestinians are isn't always so easy to determine. The Post may deplore Israel forbidding the importation of concrete or metal pipes. But the former is used to build bunkers and other fortifications and the latter for rockets.

I know that the Post is concerned with the "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza, but that's a mantra - not a fact.

And is there really a need for camouflage and expired medicines in Gaza?

Last week I criticized the Post for declaring Israel wrong despite conceding many of Israel's arguments. They're still at it.

The last refuge

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 03:58 AM PDT

I don't always agree with Richard Cohen, but when he's on, he can be excellent. Today, with What Helen Thomas Missed he was excellent. (or at RCP.)

Cohen points out that Jews, in the past, have wanted to go back to the lands where they came from, but they weren't always welcome.

In the Polish city of Kielce, on July 4, 1946 -- more than a year after the end of the war -- rumors of a Jewish ritual murder triggered a pogrom in which 42 Jews were killed. All were Holocaust survivors. The Kielce murders were not, by any means, the sole example of why Jews could not "go home." When I visited the Polish city where my mother had been born, Ostroleka, I was told of a Jew who survived Auschwitz only to be murdered when he tried to reclaim his business. In much of Eastern Europe, Jews feared for their lives.

The best paragraph, though, is a quote from a European Jewish refugee:

"I want to go to Palestine," Kalk told members of a U.N. investigating committee. "I know the conditions there. But where in the world is it good for the Jew? Sooner or later he is made to suffer. In Palestine, at least, the Jews fight together for their life and their country."

If history has shown anything, it's that the Jews can't trust many of their hosts. It wasn't just the Holocaust. Before that there were pogroms. And the Jews in Arab lands found themselves ethnically cleansed when the state of Israel was founded.

If Jews are to survive, they need their own country. When people say "we don't want Jews in the Middle East," they really are saying, "we don't Jews."

The last refuge of the Jews, is Israel.

Crossposted on Yourish.

This wasn't news

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 03:58 AM PDT

I wrote yesterday that I can't believe that Helen Thomas's outburst was the first time she had ever expressed her feelings on the Middle East. Doctor Zero provides some examples. Jonah Goldberg points out that she wasn't even that likable. Long after James Taranto started referring to her (with good reason) "as American journalism's crazy old aunt," her colleagues protected her. Taranto had an excellent take on the Helen Thomas scandal yesterday, tying her in with another anti-Israel activist journalist:

"Go back to Auschwitz," say the Turkish "humanitarians." Go back to Poland, says Helen Thomas. Beinart claims to be pro-Israel, and we don't doubt his sincerity. But his determined denial of the nature of Israel's enemies leads us to doubt his grip on reality.

Again, I don't believe that Helen Thomas's views were any surprise to her colleagues. Mark Steyn (via Instapundit) sums up what made the difference:

A guy with a flip camera just took out one of the most storied names in American journalism. Presumably US newspaper managements have been assured by Obama, Pelosi, Frank et al that that bailout's a-comin' any day now. The alternative is that they're inept timeserving mediocrities too dullwitted even to know they're going over the falls.

Council speak 060810

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 03:45 AM PDT

With no further ado, here are this week's Watcher's council winners:

Council Winners

Non Council Winners

49% support israel

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 03:42 AM PDT

via memeorandum

I know that the Thomas Friedman types will attribute this to a sort of low level racism. Despite the generally negative coverage of Israel's raid on the flotilla of pro-Hamas activists last week, according to Rasmussen, 49% of the American public blames the terror supporters for the incident.

Don Surber writes:

Voters are not as dumb as the elites think.

According to Hot Air the partisan breakdown is encouraging:

Thus far, support for Israel doesn't appear to be overtly partisan. Almost two-thirds of Republicans blame the pro-Palestinian activists (65/11), but a plurality of Democrats do as well (37/26), while independents almost exactly parallel the topline number (47/19).

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